Retailer Target has been the latest… target of an attack of the increasingly visible Angry Mob via Facebook movement, after posting a scathing takedown of the company for selling clothes that make young girls “look like tramps”. It garnered almost 60,000 likes and 3,000 comments.
The open letter was posted on the company’s facebook page over the weekend by Port Macquarie mum, Ana Amini, angered by a pair of denim hot pants, lace midriff tops and bikinis she deemed inappropriate for a kids clothing range aimed at children from age 7. She wrote:
”Dear Target, Could you possibly make a range of clothing for girls 7-14 years that doesn’t make them look like tramps … You have lost me as a customer when buying apparel for my daughter as I don’t want her thinking shorts up her backside are the norm or fashionable.”
The brand did not respond to the angry Facebook juggernaut until Monday night, and have since invited their customers to provide feedback on the childrenswear range. Almost 3,000 comments appeared on the original post (which disappeared from the Facebook page because, “A word in the original post was flagged by Facebook as inappropriate and therefore was hidden from our view”, according to Target), and the retailer has been slammed with impassioned criticism – as well as support – for the offending clothing collection (e.g. motorbikes, surfboards and skateboard prints on clothes turn kids into “trainee criminals”) and anything else that might have been on the mind of Facebook-using consumers – like corporate media strategy and broader philosophical deliberations about the world today.
Jesus. We have entered the age where Facebook has the potential to be a powerful soap box that any consumer with an email address and an axe to grind can take advantage of.
In the past fortnight there’s been an amazing spike in this specific kind of feedback-by-Facebook. One comment on the Channel 9 facebook page has received more than 193,000 ‘likes’, from a viewer who admonished the network for not broadcasting the Paralympic Games (obviously not realising that the ABC has broadcasting rights, and has had for years).
Then there was the incident when triple j radio presenter Lindsay “The Doctor” McDougall was the subject of a critical rant on the station’s profile page, receiving tens of thousands of ‘likes’, thousands of comments and going viral through Australian Facebook news feeds. This troll was also compelled to address the issue on behalf of the whole nation:
And copycat trolls are quickly following suit as self-appointed representatives for the masses:
Giving consumers a voice and empowering them to take part in effecting positive change is something any major brand or organisation must provide, but the immediacy and viral potency of the Facebook Soap Box gives far too much power to misinformed, opinionated and just plain INCORRECT individuals – and the ease with which an equally misinformed, opinionated person can jump on the bandwagon and further spread the message is alarming. And at the rate this phenomenon has taken off in a matter of mere weeks it’s unlikely to be stopping any time soon.
Welcome to the Troll generation.
Words By Nikki Brogan with Suz